BY MOSES MUGUGUNYEKI
ZIMBABWE Mining Workers (ZMW) president Kurebwa Javangwe Nomboka has implored the National Employment Council (NEC) to push mining companies to consider paying workers COVID-19 allowances since the sector is regarded as an essential service.
The government exempted the mining industry from lockdowns.
Nomboka said miners were exposed to the risk of contracting the respiratory virus
“There is a need for the NEC to consider the payment of allowances to cushion the employees and the risk conditions worked under cannot be ignored. There is a need for the introduction of COVID-19 allowances because the mining industry is regarded as essential service,” Nomboka said.
He bemoaned lack of safety, health and environmental regulations in most mining companies, especially those owned by the Chinese.
“Chinese mining companies don’t follow safety, environmental standards, regulations or rules. Most employees are not properly graded, they pay employees way below NEC minimum wage, their employees work long hours, no overtime, no holiday they treat every day as working day.
“Most Chinese mining companies don’t remit money to National Social Security Authiority, Mining Industry Pension Fund or even to unions. Workers are facing serious victimisation no right to form workers’ committee and rights to join unions.”
The ZMW president said most workers in the mining sector were not job secure.
“At most mines there is no job security due to the fact that there are no fixed contracts and they operate under deplorable working conditions which are not in sync with what the mining regulations provide for.”
“Arbitrary dismissals without being brought before an inquiry to prove alleged wrongs is the order of the day in most mines. Workers work excessive hours without being paid overtime allowances.”
He said most mine workers were being paid below the poverty datum line, adding “most mine workers do not have rights to form workers committees of their choice and those who have workers’ committees don’t have employees-driven constitutions to regulate the executives’ conduct.”